Richmond Shares Stories of Culture, Immigration and Family

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Gateway Theatre’s Sea of Stories invited residents of Richmond’s culturally-diverse community to tell their stories of change, immigration, family and culture. Submissions were selected and, working with a professional theatre director, each participant converted their story into a 10-minute play in just nine weeks. The result, Sea of Stories, is a six-play event highlighting culture, family, immigration, loss and love in the City of Richmond. The plays, which ran in May 2007, were sold out, prompting a second performance which also filled the 100-seat house. As a result, 200 people enjoyed the final presentation. Those unable to see the play attended the Richmond Museum’s exhibit sharing the visual stories of the written works.

With the help an $11,500 grant from Innovations, Sea of Stories was able to hire 15 professional artists and a creative team of four directors, a stage manager, props/set/costume person, sound consultant, and production manager. The project explored the history of Richmond and its residents through the most ancient of methods – storytelling. It also provided experience for a new generation of writers, and forged a new relationship with the Richmond Museum. A book of these stories has since been written and sits in the Richmond Public Library. Work is under way for a second Sea of Stories project for 2009.

Innovations invests in arts, cultural and heritage organizations wishing to create new opportunities for community members to participate in arts and cultural activities. The program is supported by the Province of British Columbia.